Joey Logano has chance to earn first All-Star, Coke 600 sweep since 2010
Joey Logano’s win in the Sprint All-Star Race last Saturday might have been the result of the event’s confusing format, but it was also a result of broader trend.
Logano is kind of good at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Through his first seven seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, Logano made 14 starts at the 1.5-mile track, plus six starts in the All-Star Race.
Logano’s win last weekend was his second visit to victory lane in Charlotte in as many races, including his win last year in the October points race.
Logano now owns the best average finish at Charlotte among active Cup drivers with an average of 9.57. NASCAR’s totals for the stat date back to the 2005 season, which was four years before Logano’s first full-time campaign.
In his last seven Charlotte starts, Logano has three top five and four top-10 finishes. If Logano were to win Sunday, he would be the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2010 with Team Penske to sweep the All-Star Race and the Coke 600.
Behind Logano in the avg finish category is defending Coca-Cola 600 winner Carl Edwards, with an avg of 10.5. Edwards has seven top five and 15 top-10 finishes at Charlotte since he broke into the Cup series in 2005. Last’s year’s Coke 600 was his first win in 22 Charlotte starts.
“Last year’s win at the Coca-Cola 600 was huge for us,” Edwards said in a press release. “It was a turning point in our season and it’s still sinking in that our 19 team are the defending champions of the Coca-Cola 600.”
Edwards’ win was his first with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“The track changes a lot as we go into the night and you have to stay on top of it and regardless of how long it is,” Edward said. “A lot of it is you have to be on your game at the end and those have been some long nights and I think that at the end of the day that does wear on you and you have to be prepared for it.”
Not among the top drivers in avg finish is a surprising name - Jimmie Johnson. While the six-time Sprint Cup champion is has the best driver rating at Charlotte since 2005 (109.0), his avg finish in that time is 14.9, which trails drivers like Logano, Edwards, Kevin Harvick (13.9), Denny Hamlin (12.8), Kasey Kahne (12.0) and Kyle Busch (13.5).
Since 2005, Johnson has won four of his record seven Charlotte races. His sweep in 2005 was part of four wins in a row for the No. 48 team. His two wins since 2005 came in the 2009 fall race and the 2014 Coke 600.
“Last weekend’s All-Star event was in essence a ‘test’ for this weekend,” said Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, in a press release. “We learned some important things about tire fall off even though we didn’t get a ton of practice. The 600-miler is a tough, tough race and it takes a lot of patience and some endurance on everyone’s part to be there at the end.”
In his 22 Charlotte starts over the last 10 seasons, Johnson has nine top fives, 11 top-10 finishes and four DNFs.
Since 2013, he has one win, but in the four races he hasn’t finished in the top five, he has failed to finish better than 17th.